For stores, repeat customers are gained by being able to offer the best products for the best price - but financial professionals like CPAs find they need to trust other methods to enjoy ongoing relationships with clients. Offering superb payroll services, professional looking CPA websites, and error-free tax filings make a nice impression - but any other CPA is entirely capable of achieving this same basic level of professionalism. CPA practices often realize they have to pick up the pace to ensure their clients don't flock to rival practices. If they're not careful, they'll lose clients, forcing them to "waste" time gaining new prospects.
Check out the following pointers for how to better retain accounting clients.
Employ CPA Websites, Social Media, and Other Tricks
It can be hard to give a personal touch in accounting because finance tends to be a sterile topic. Try the following actions to give your firm more of a human face:
- Establish an online presence. Successful CPA websites provide helpful tax tips and financial information for clients, as well as time-saving features like a client portal or a credit card processing service.
- For clients who use Facebook and Twitter, set up social media accounts so you can easily answer questions in real time.
- Make follow-up calls to ensure clients have no further questions, that their tax forms were processed correctly, and that their business is doing well.
- Keep small personal notes on each client. Make it a habit to review the material before a meeting so you can chit-chat about your clients' kids, their new summer home, or their recent travels; it gives you instant likability.
Never Promise More Than You Can Deliver
Be very careful not to promise the world to your clients. For instance, they should know that if they turn in their tax materials within a week of tax day, you likely won't be able to complete their return on time.
Of course, don't become complacent; work hard to deliver the best possible service in each case. And if you make a big push and DO get taxes done by the 15th even though materials were late, be sure to point out your extra effort.
CPA websites can help here, too. If you invest in a high-quality site with a client portal, online bookkeeping, QuickBooks support, and similar features, your clients will benefit. The increased efficiency and convenience of online tools make a great impression.
Highlight Your Trustworthiness
Let's face it: finance professionals don't always have a reputation for honesty and high ethical standards, especially these days. Since the deck may already be stacked against you, you must work that much harder to provide honest services.
So you must be vigilant: never lie, and always be as upfront as possible with unpleasant news, rather than beating around the bush.
It also helps to express your trustworthiness in other ways. Being courteous, considerate, and always following through on your promises are other ways you can convey your honesty. The little things really do add up.
Return Calls and Emails Within an Hour
Hard-to-reach businesses lose customers. When people are stressed about their finances, waiting even for half a day can make their anxiety go through the roof. Regardless of the reason, clients may be concerned that lack of contact means something is wrong.
Make sure your office is able to deliver prompt communication on all issues. Get in touch by email or phone - you don't need to have the answer, but at least assure them that you're looking into their question.
Your Clients Want a Real Person - Be One!
People like to work with other human beings, not robots. If you're funny, be funny. If you're more reserved, be warm and friendly, but don't force yourself to be more talkative than you feel. Not every client will see your personality as a fit for theirs, but that's okay. Conforming to the desires of every customer means you are not a match for any.
Learning how to retain clients is important for anyone in the service industry, and CPAs are no exception. CPA websites, social media, and having a warm, genuine personality are truly critical when working to keep clients onboard. Make your top priority the highest paying clientele and you should be able to enjoy a stable base of clients and a pleasing bottom line.
Kenny is a business consultant and former Corporate Officer of CPASiteSolutions.com. His special area of expertise is marketing small practices by making use of good CPA websites. While using social websites and Search Engines forms the basis of his strategy he also stresses the importance of traditional networking and excellent customer service in helping CPA practices build their client bases.
Article Source: http://www.ArticleBiz.com
By- Ken Marshall
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